Tag Archives: Hurricane Katrina

Warm Season

19 Oct

Well, despite the cold arriving here in Wettenbostel… a warm season has been predicted in my life…. by our bicycling traveling German friend still here in Wettenbostel…  I will accept that prediction.  And look forward to it… with gratitude.

My loyal porch companion and American friend Dan has moved on to new pastures as Sunday he left for Switzerland.  A bittersweet departure seeing a friend move on.  But…  I did move into his room… for now my room.  I can still feel and smell his presence in there.  The ghost of Dan gently guiding me… tapping me in this direction and that on how to be a good caretaker of myself and the Seminar Haus while I am here.  Perhaps some of it will rub off on me.

I am learning how to stay warm in cold Northern Germany… as we have already had our first frost and some of the beautiful flowers and vegetables in the garden are wilting in defeat.  I am heeding well to good intentioned tips like keeping my warm wool socks on the heater to keep them warm and dry and seeking to keep my hands, neck and feet warm.  My scarf is my constant companion.  Learning to make pots of tea to travel with me during the day and basking in the sun whenever possible.  But in addition to learning to keep my body warm and doing so gently and gingerly… I am learning to keep me heart warm.  Just a little.  Beginning to let loose of some of the jagged and prickly edges locked into place like a frozen ghost.  Allowing for a space… if ever so brief… to let go of my thoughts and be in the moment with kindness, good feelings…and warmth.  Ah.  Letting go of the past… the jagged ridged actions of reacting to so much…trying to keep my hand on everything all at once. The forced persistence after hurricane Katrina and other things.  Ah.  A warm season beginning in me as the cool frost sneaks in.

I am feeling so much energy shifting right now.  It seems that so much is changing although as I look around me I cannot say exactly what.  It feels as if I am riding on a rush of energy somehow changing my life… and where it will end I am not sure.  For now I explore keeping my focus is the present although my mind likes to wander and consider what will happen next… like the exciting next episode of a longed for drama series.  Surrender is the call.  I see it sitting next to me… smiling its devilish grin.  Waiting for me to let go and fall to the ways of the unknown.  Intuition seems to be the guide.. finding my way through the dark and unseen.

My beloved computer is now on its way to working again.  New hard drive and system in place I am happily now typing on my own keyboard.  Only one thing is different.  My computer has been through a transformation.  It now speaks German.  German system software, German keyboard… And for now… my computer speaks German better than I do.  My loyal computer repair friends have assured me they will look for system software that speaks English.  But in the meantime I am getting to know my old friend with a foreign twist.

Things are a little quieter again here in Wettenbostel.  With Dan gone and the peak of energy from the weekend party died down… it is now mostly myself and our visiting bicycling friend….fending our way through the cold and warmth of Wettenbostel…. with occasional visits from our hosts and regular electrician, general handyman and friend.  So here I am.  One step at a time.  One day at a time.  Exploring and beginning to find warmth in the cold.

Photo Deep in the Garden by Michael Hartley


25 Sep

It is an incredibly beautiful day here today.  Unbelievable.  The light is spreading its warmth among the trees and it actually feels good outside.  No bite of the cool air. The only sound I hear is the occasional roar of a farming truck driving by on an outside road and a background of the birds chirping.

I think I am going to cook a little bit of macrobiotic food tonight.  I experimented with eating macrobiotic for a little bit back in New Orleans.  In its simples form.  What I learned from that time is that there are foods that can ease and soothe the soul and nurture the inner world.  I cleaned out the refrigerator today and have full stock of what is remaining.  We have some good root veggies that would be good in a simple macrobiotic dish called nishime.  Nishime may not be a dish so much as a way of cooking vegetables.  Cooking them slow.  Usually in a big pot with a thick lid.  Root vegetables… some of which were new to me like Daikon… and other good ones like turnips and carrots.  We have some Daikon in the fridge and a bunch of carrots and I think some cabbage and onions.  Which will be good in a little light vegetable stew.  Generally you cook it on top of a piece of seaweed.. which I don’t have… so I am going to give it a go without it.  When it is almost done cooking you can put a little Shoyu on it for some added flavor.  My experience is these vegetables come out tasting tender and the slow nurturing root quality is softening and healing.

I first explored eating macrobiotic for personal wellbeing.  I had some big emotions locked in my body and macrobiotic had some good clues of things that may help loosen things up a big… so they can move.  Tips like cookies, cakes, breads and chips can tighten up and restrict the abdominal area… making it difficult for emotions to express.  Chewing every bite 30 to 40 times is good and grounding. And simple things like this style of vegetable I’m about to prepare.  Good ways to feel fed.

I am going through some sort of letting go process it seems.  Not always clear what it is that I am letting go of… but I am aware that something is passing through me like the closing of the night.  And there is some pain… some struggle and some saddness in letting its darkness move through me to… ultimately a new day.  In the face of this I am feeling a little edgy today in Wettenbostel.  Little things are bothering me and I am feeling particularly sensitive and well, moody.

Patience seems to be the call as I walk through this terrain.  A few days ago I turned to the Tarot deck for a few simple explanations.  A good resource for me after years of reading cards in New Orleans.  Often the cards can show me if nothing else the texture and the landscape of what is happening… when one is looking to see what’s on the inside in places that are not ordinarily seen.  And what came up in both cases was the death card.  Death in the Tarot is not necessarily about someone or me dying in a physical way, but it is a death nonetheless.  A passage of the old.  An ending that feels sad and somewhat tragic…. if for no other reason than because it’s coming to and end.  And after an sometimes difficult period there is… a new dawn.

So that is it for today.  Death, letting go and nishime vegetables.  Quite a combination. Oh, and not to forget cleaning of some of the upstairs windows in the Seminar Haus.  A little satisfaction from streaking them clean… inside and out.  And hanging out in the gentle light of the afternoon sun.

Being at Home

22 Sep

Nothing is permanent.  That’s what the Buddhists say.  And I am all too often reminded of that… 6 years ago when my apartment and the world I knew were submerged in the waters from Hurricane Katrina…  the somewhat vagabond life that followed… living in Texas… here for a while then there.  And then returning 18 months later to a still unstable New Orleans.  My most recent year in New Orleans, I house sat in other people’s homes… 6 months here… six months there.  And now here I am again, wandering… in Europe this time.  How does a Gypsy begin to be at home?

I started this morning with some of my typical rituals… continuing to build my spiritual backbone… knowing, wanting…and sometimes seeing and experiencing that there is a way and place where I am at home… in spirit.  That is the ground from which I build my foundation. Every day.  This morning I read a passage from A Course in Miracles… reminding me to be open to seeing, experiencing and hearing God in and through all things… that God is an echo beyond what we see and experience.  Oneness. And in that space, home to me sounds and feels a lot like “om“!

It’s quiet today at the Seminar house and it has been good to be able to take my time. Grounding.  I’ve been tending to the basics.  Cleaning this.  Organizing that.  And today, Dan, my fellow American here in Wettenbostel, and I had a big adventure and rode bicycles into the nearby town of Amelinghausen. A neighboring town just 8 kilometers away… it is the closest source for groceries and other basic needs.  Armed with bicycles… that were in need of a little tender loving care… we braved the ride, the two, maybe three hills and safely arrived for a little shopping and a coffee break.  It was my first time “breaking out” of Wettenbostel to Amerlinghausen without the escort of one of our hosts and their vehicle. Being there on the bicycle passing the fields of corn, beets and potatoes just felt good and kind of reminded me who I am.  Nothing exciting or dangerous… but just the pleasure of being on a bicycle… seeing the fields expand and feeling the coolness of the wind.  I had to laugh when on two different occasions I had to swerve my bicycle to avoid hitting a stray potato on the road.  Only in Germany.  Land of the potato. We returned to the Seminar Haus, me feeling victorious at having successfully returned to the mother ship.  My legs were stretched from the exercise and my heart was moving faster.

And now, here I am… back at home.  There is a familiar feeling in spending time at Wettenbostel that gives way sometimes to the peace and ease of home.  But I am aware, in true gypsy form, that my life is still a home in motion.  And I like that.  But in the meantime, I do need to take the time to just be.  Be me.  Ride a bicycle.  Work a little in the garden.  Have some time to relax… work a morning in my pajamas. Watch a movie at night.  It seems with all the chaos not so long ago in my life… that perhaps I was lost.  But every day little by little, in the magic, the ways, the experiences of my life and new adventure…in quiet still ways.. I am found.  I am at home.

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